If you live in the Sunflower State and are currently – or soon will be – eligible for Medicare, you’re probably wondering what your options are.
Medicare is a national insurance program for those age 65 and older and people of any age who have certain disabilities. While the federal government runs Medicare, you have the option to purchase certain Medicare plans from private insurance companies in your state.
Parts A and B make up original Medicare. Part C, Part D, and Medigap are optional plans sold by private insurance companies. Let’s take a closer look at each of these parts of Medicare.
Medicare parts A and B
- Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. It covers inpatient services you might receive while admitted to a hospital or for a limited time at a skilled nursing facility. It also covers hospice care and some limited in-home care services.
- Medicare Part B is for outpatient care. It covers the services you receive at the doctor’s office, other outpatient care, and medical supplies.
Most people don’t pay a premium for Part A, since you or your spouse likely already paid through the payroll tax during your working years. Part B does have a premium. The amount you’ll pay varies depending on factors like your income.
You don’t need to enroll in both parts. If you or your spouse choose to continue working and are eligible for group coverage, it might make sense to enroll only in Part A since there’s no premium.
While original Medicare covers a significant portion of health care expenses, there’s a lot it doesn’t cover. Original Medicare doesn’t include coverage for prescription drugs, nor any dental, vision, or hearing care. These costs can add up, especially if you frequently seek health care or have one or more chronic conditions.
Medicare supplement (Medigap)
Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) can help cover the out-of-pocket costs that original Medicare doesn’t cover. These plans are available through private companies to add to your original Medicare coverage.
Due to changes that went into effect for 2020, Medigap plans can no longer cover the Part B deductible. If you became eligible for Medicare on or after January 1, 2020, you won’t have the same Medicare supplement options as someone who enrolled in an earlier year.
Medicare Part D
You can purchase a Part D plan to help cover the cost of prescription drugs. Medicare prescription drug plans are available from private insurance companies. You may also purchase prescription drug coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan.
You must be enrolled in original Medicare to qualify for Part D or Medicare Advantage plans.
Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans in Kansas cover all of the same benefits as original Medicare and more. They usually include prescription drug benefits and may also include coverage for vision, dental, hearing services, and more.
Medicare Advantage plans can fully replace original Medicare. You purchase one from a private insurance company. While plans must meet certain criteria, individual plan designs vary, just like with any private insurance.
Medicare Advantage Plans in Kansas
Medicare carriers in Kansas include the following private insurance companies:
- Aetna Medicare
- Ascension Complete
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
- Blue Medicare Advantage
- Lasso Healthcare
It’s important to note that not all of these plans are available in every county of Kansas. Plan availability varies depending on where you live.
You’re eligible to enroll in Medicare in Kansas if you:
- are age 65 or older
- are any age and have a qualifying disability
- have end stage renal disease (ESRD)
- have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
If you receive Social Security, Railroad Retirement Board, or disability benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in parts A and B when you turn age 65. Otherwise, you must follow the enrollment process.
Your initial Medicare enrollment period begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and lasts for 3 months after. In most cases, it makes sense to at least enroll in Part A at this time, since there’s usually not a premium.
IMPORTANT MEDICARE DEADLINES
In addition to your initial enrollment period, there are also also other times you can enroll in Medicare including:
- Late enrollment: January 1–March 31. You may enroll in a Medicare plan or Medicare Advantage plan.
- Medicare Part D enrollment: April 1–June 30. You may enroll in a Part D plan.
- Open enrollment: October 15–December 7. You may enroll in, drop out of, or change your part C or Part D plan.
- Special enrollment. Under special circumstances, you may qualify for a special enrollment period of 8 months.
If you or your spouse continues working, you can continue coverage under your employer-sponsored group health plan for as long as you like. In these cases, you’ll be eligible for a special enrollment period later on.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for Medicare plans in Kansas:
- Medicare Advantage plan designs vary. Some are Health Maintenance organizations (HMOs), which require you to choose a primary care physician who oversees your care. Others are Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, which don’t require referrals for in-network specialty care.
- Consider the network. Different plans have different networks. You’ll want to choose one that includes doctors and hospitals near you, as well as preferred providers you may already have a relationship with.
- Review the cost structure. How expensive are the premiums? And how much should you expect to pay out of pocket when you receive care?
- If you’re married, does your spouse qualify for Medicare? Medicare plans are individual so you can’t sign someone on as a dependent. If one of you isn’t yet eligible for enrollment, you may need to consider other coverage options.
These resources can help you learn more about your Kansas Medicare options:
- Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. Visit the website or call 800-860-5260.
- Medicare website
- Social Security Administration website
Ready to take the next steps toward your Medicare Kansas enrollment?
- Learn more about the Medicare Advantage plan options in your state. The list above is a good starting point for your research. Or you can talk with an agent your area.
- Fill out the online application on the Social Security Administration website. The application is fast and easy and doesn’t require any documentation up front.
This article was updated on November 13, 2020, to reflect 2021 Medicare information.
The information on this website may assist you in making personal decisions about insurance, but it is not intended to provide advice regarding the purchase or use of any insurance or insurance products. Healthline Media does not transact the business of insurance in any manner and is not licensed as an insurance company or producer in any U.S. jurisdiction. Healthline Media does not recommend or endorse any third parties that may transact the business of insurance.